A few years ago I took a big leap of faith, booked a one way ticket to Bali, sold all my belongings, quit my job and my P.hd and left everything behind. I can now say that I made Bali truly my home, I have a growing coaching business and I just gave birth to my first child here on this island.
Almost every single day I get message through my Instagram with the same question: How did I do this? How do you get ‘the Bali life?’ How do you move abroad and build a business? So I decided it’s time to dedicate some time to this and share my story with you.
To answer the how-to question, I think it’s just a matter of deciding, facing your fear and going. I figured it out on the way. I left with no plan, no money and a one way ticket. I just took the step without really knowing what was next. I think this journey is different for everyone, but this is how I have done it. Once you decided to go for it, everyone can figure out the how. You just do. You simply put one foot in front of the other.
Where ever you go, there you are
The more relevant question is the why. Why do you want to move abroad? Why do you want to go to that specific country? And answer that question for yourself in a brutally honest way. Because the thing is, sometimes we think we want something but we actually don’t. We fall in love with the idea of something but in reality, it is just not for us.
It is easy to fall in love with the idea of moving to a tropical island and sipping on a coconut. I mean, who doesn’t want to move to paradise? Especially when you are spending some time on Instagram, it seems like this is the thing to do. If you don’t travel around the world or move abroad and live life like a ‘digital nomad’ you are average, and no one wants to be average. We want to be special! And if you can life your life in a bikini, all your problems will disappear… right?
Well, not really. As we know but constantly forget, Instagram only shows you the glamorous side of things, it shows you that life is perfect on the other side of the world with sunsets, endless smiles, beach babes and people that are oh so #blessed and happy living life in paradise. But it definitely does not show you the other side. This famous saying of Jon Kabat-Zinn is very true in this context: “where ever you go, there you are.” You just can’t escape your shit, even not when you hop on a plane and fly to the other end of the world. You simply take it with you. And all the palm trees, nice tans, beautiful smoothie bowls and cool yoga poses in the world aren’t solving that. Like anything else that is outside of you, they might make you feel better for a bit, and then that inner void comes creeping right back. The fact is, paradise doesn’t really exist. There is no place that will make all your problems magically disappear.
Especially in Bali, it seems like all your issues are just getting magnified if you stay here for long enough. This freaky island has a way of bringing up all the shit you don’t want to see to the surface and rubs it right in your face! And not in a very gentle way… And you will be on your own, without your friends and family, and you will somehow have to deal with it.
So ask yourself really honestly why you want to move abroad. And be real here for a moment, also if you don’t like the answer. Is this because you want to run away from something at home, escape a difficult situation? Is this because you think ‘paradise’ will solve all your problems and give you instant happiness? Is this because you think it will make you look cool and interesting? Is this because you want your life to be Instagram worthy and post photos so other people envy you so you will feel better about yourself? Is this because you want to start over somewhere nobody knows you so you can take on a new identity?
If the answer is yes to any of those questions, you might want to reconsider this move. And sort out your inner stuff first and then see if you still want to move abroad so badly. Just take a holiday or travel around a bit for the mean time.
But if the answer is that you actually feel like you thrive on adventure, uncertainty and not having any structure. You feel like a certain culture fits you better than the one at home. Your gut feeling says this is the right thing to do for you. You are willing to deal with uncertainty, risks and moments of loneliness. You are prepared to put in the hard work and figuring everything out and being uncomfortable. You are willing to sacrifice not seeing loved ones and family for a long time and missing significant moments like birthdays, weddings and babies being born. And you don’t expect it to solve your problems and give you instant happiness….
I would say, go for it! If you don’t try, you will never know!
My Bali story
Personally, I have never regretted moving to Bali. I don’t know if I will stay here forever, I don’t have any plans for the future as planning doesn’t work out for me anyway. I just surrender and go with whatever happens and feels right.
I never felt like Holland was the right place for me. I always missed a sense of freedom there and felt like it was not an environment I would thrive in, I felt stuck in a system. The first time I landed on this island was 15 years ago and I had a strong feeling of being at home, being in the right place. From all the places I have visited in my life, nothing felt as right as this place to me. And at a certain point it was just a strong gut feeling, almost a knowing, I had to follow my heart and move to Bali.
It was right when I got out of a dark period and started to change my inner world with mindfulness, meditation and a lot of inner work. It gave me the clarity to see this is what I was supposed to do, to help others find their path and inspire them to follow their truth. And when I got in Bali I fell head over heals in love with who is now the father of my child. Everything pointed to the fact that this was the right thing to do for me at that point in time.
Was it easy? Nope. Was I scared? Hell yes! But I did it anyway, because I knew following my heart would be the only way for me to stay true to myself. I have been here for a few years now and it has been an incredible journey, but also a rough one. I had many moments of desperation, of dealing with really hard life changes and feeling alone. I had many moments I wished I could just run to my mum or friends, moments of just wanting to be home. Meeting people who did not have the right intentions. Losing loved ones. Losing myself for a while. Dealing with corruption and assault. Being absolutely broke and living on nasi campur three times a day, and not knowing where the hell my next paycheck would come from.
But with the big breakdowns also came the big breakthroughs. It made me grow as a person and as a coach so much faster. It helped me heal my old childhood wounds and traumas. It has teached me so much in such a short time. I now know how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I know my strength and I know who I am.
Being here is still more than worth it to me, it feels like home now. It still feels like I am on my path. And I am excited that my baby boy came into this world on this beautiful island.
Just like always, the how isn’t that relevant. It is the why that is the real question that needs to be answered. Is your true motivation fear… is it a need for validation, an escapism, a way of trying to make yourself feel good enough or special, of putting on a false new identity and seeking happiness in your environment instead of in yourself? Consider doing some serious inner work because moving won’t fix this inner void. Because running away will work only temporarily and then it will just magnify it. Is the reason love, is it because this is your truth? Follow your heart my love, you will never regret that!
PS. Are you a Dutchie? Dan is deze gratis mini-mindfulness cursus voor jou!